China sets up drone bases to step up marine surveillance
Beijing: Amid its maritime disputes with Japan and several other East Asian countries, China has set up two drone bases in the northeastern Liaoning province for real time surveillance on coastal waters.
One of the bases will be built on a land reclamation lot in the coastal city of Yingkou to cover the Bohai Sea area.
The other will be constructed in Dalian city to cover parts of the Yellow Sea within the province's jurisdiction, according to the Oceanic and Fishing Department of the provincial government.
The drones, which are extensively used by the US in Afghanistan and against militants in Pakistan's tribal belt, will feature high-definition remote-sensing in marine surveillance, especially in quick response to emergency situations.
They can also be used to identify illegal land reclamation activities and sand dredging, and monitor marine environments along the coast and on islets, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
A previous report said China was planning to build 11 drone bases for marine surveillance along the country's coastline by 2015 and at least one drone would be stationed at each base.
According to the State Oceanic Administration, the use of pilot-less aircraft in remote-sensing marine surveillance is relatively flexible, low-cost and efficient compared with the performance of satellite remote sensing, aerial remote sensing and field monitoring.
The drones are expected to step surveillance in both South and East China Sea in the Pacific ocean where China has disputes over islands with the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Japan.